One of the hardest things about being a Step-Mom…
is accepting that your schedule is not your own.
One of the hardest things about being a Stepmom is accepting that your schedule is not your own. Parenting teenagers and keeping track of multiple schedules is a daunting task to say the least.
For this Type-A girl here, being organized is a top priority! Not having control over my own schedule has been on of the hardest parts of becoming a stepmom. We have three houses that all must work together to schedule these 6 people’s lives. Time management is a must to make that happen. Agreements and custody arrangements help solidify what’s what but let’s face it, nothing is set in stone as I’m sure you’re all aware! When kids are involved, it’s not ever over. Co parenting goes on and on and on.
I have always lived for my monthly calendar. It’s crazy how excited I get at the start of each new month. Wiping the slate clean and writing out the plan for the new month. I just love it. (geek squad, yeah, that’s me) I think this interesting little quirk of mine has laid a good solid foundation in helping my blended family to stay organized. It has also been somewhat of a curse though.
See before when I’d get all giddy inside that I get to lay out the plans for a new month, those were my plans. No one else’s, just mine, and then when I split from my ex it was my plans, plus the access schedule we had in place for our daughter – the reality of divorce and child custody. Still not bad, one calendar managing two households, still very doable.
Enter life with Mark and 3 more kids, add in one ex-wife and their access schedule and now we have one calendar, three houses and three separate families all impacted by said calendar. Yikes! So how do you make the best of a situation that no one ever calls “ideal”!? You kick those planning skills into overdrive, pull up your big girl pants and handle it! But how do you handle it when you’re only one part of the equation!?
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, cozi is a handy little home app that we have on each of our phones in our house of 6, and everyone has access to the schedule and can make changes and add to it. Now the younger ones aren’t really in the habit of using it but the older one does. Our oldest uses it all the time to know what’s going on, but he has had some hesitation from entering things into the calendar. It’s the teenage years, he’s in two bands, he’s into making his own plans with his grandparents and friends and band members all the while neglecting to put it into the calendar. He’ll remind Mark of what he’s up to the day of or if we’re lucky the day before. Now telling his Dad doesn’t mean it always gets to me either. Trying to stay organized and ensuring everyone’s schedule is respected and accommodated is hard enough when you know all the moving pieces, add this lovely little quirk and we’re all affected by it – the domino effect!
I’ve noted that co parenting goes on forever! Even though you’ve got everything sorted out and an agreement has been made and a schedule set – life happens! You must try to adjust along the way to accommodate people and situations as they arise. We get requests from both my ex and Mark’s ex from time to time asking to make a change to the schedule. We do our best to make it happen, provided we don’t already have plans. When we ask my ex for the same in return there’s about a 90% chance he’s saying “no” and we know this ahead of time, so we try very hard to make any changes with him very minimal.
Mark’s ex is more accommodating but also doesn’t think things through fully sometimes. Like next week, Christmas break, Mark is always off work between Christmas and New Years. Instead of asking him first to take the kids on her days she plans with her parents EVERY SINGLE YEAR! This year, again, we asked to take them, and she said “no, her parents have made plans” This one’s like beating a dead horse and sometimes you really must work hard at picking your battles.
Mark’s got this amazing ability to not let people affect him. I’m still learning – trying hard to learn this one quickly! I have always been a highly sensitive person (this is where my daughter gets it from!), so trying not to take everything to heart has been a tough one on me. Being in these shoes, in this role, you need to know that people often project on to you. They will treat you badly or say an unkind thing because of how they feel, not because of who you are. You can’t control other people or schedules or situations that involve more than just you. The only thing you have control over is how you react and respond to things that happen to you and around you and the sooner you realize this the easier your life will become. Instead of getting all bent out of shape because a request can’t be accommodated, you make the best of it and plan accordingly. Your peace of mind is worth far more than having something happen on a set day because you had it in your head that it was supposed to.
We’re all in this together, and I think we deserve tremendous recognition as a step parent. This is not an easy life we’ve signed up for! If any of this is relatable, drop me a line or follow and comment on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to connect with you!